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Soul of the Border

Soul of the Border

Matteo Righetto

Translated by Howard Curtis

Jole is fifteen the first time she accompanies her father, Augusto, as he smuggles tobacco across the Italian border into Austria. She knows the dangers of the treacherous high mountain passes—border guards, brigands, wild animals, ferocious weather—but she is proud that her father asks her. Life is hard, and without the extra money Augusto’s smuggling brings in, the family would starve.

When Augusto disappears during one of his trips, Jole must retrace the route he took, seeking a buyer for her family’s tobacco—and the truth behind her father’s disappearance.

Soul of the Border is an epic story of revenge and salvation, a ferocious tale ofviolence and corruption, and a journey into the wild.


SBS Italian (interview: Italian language)

Matteo Righetto
About the Author

Matteo Righetto lives and works in Padua, at the border of the wilderness of north-eastern Italy. Among his best-known novels are the celebrated La pelle dell’orso (The Bear Skin), recently made into a film, and Apri gli occhi (Open Your Eyes), winner of the Premio Cortina 2016.

Howard Curtis has more than thirty years’ experience working as a...

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Text publication date:
29 October 2018
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Praise for Matteo Righetto
andSoul of the Border

‘[A] taut, stylish novel…Will appeal to fans of Cormac McCarthy, and it almost reads like a European version of a western. A stark and beautiful natural setting, strong female protagonist, and the rhythm and raw economy of the prose make Soul of the Border seductive.’

‘Matteo Righetto’s writing is clear and sharp as the mountain horizon…It is a story both harsh and delicate, multifaceted as a precious stone, seductive as the land of the high Brenta Valley…We hear the rhythm of Hemingway between the pages, and the raw realism of Cormac McCarthy.’

‘A novel in which you hear the howling of the wolf, the hooting of the owl, the humming of insects in the meadows; in which you feel nature talking and moving, and all the passions and impulses of men…Matteo Righetto shows us the consequences of crossing the frontier…Once it is crossed, the reader, like the characters, will never be the same again.’

‘A mix of Cormac McCarthy-esque brutalist writing with a coming-of-age story…’

Other editions ofSoul of the Border
  • Soul of the Border
    ISBN: 9781925626919
    29 October 2018
    Buy ebook